A MULTI-MILLION pound investment in Galashiels’ water supply will help boost the salmon and trout figures in the Borders, it’s claimed.

For the first time ever the Stantling Craig Reservoir, part of the Caddon Water, was drained as part of a project by Scottish Water and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

The project will assess the ecological status of the Caddon Water, with hopes of raising it from “poor” by allowing migratory fish such as Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout to use the river channel by returning the river to a more natural state.

Border Telegraph: The drained reservoir. Photo: Scottish WaterThe drained reservoir. Photo: Scottish Water

The reservoir, which was built in the late 1800s to handle the effects on the river upstream which was supplying Galashiels with drinking water. The reservoir has never provided drinking water.

Due to new funding, the maintenance of the upstream water by the reservoir is no longer needed.

As part of the project the reservoir was drained to around 11 metres over a two-month period.

Euan Innes, an Asset Planner at Scottish Water, said: “This has been one of the most interesting projects I have been involved in.

“Migratory fish species like Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout are sadly in decline in Scotland.

“While there may be multiple causes to this decline, barriers to migration are not helping. This dam blocks off up to 11km of potential prime spawning habitat, preventing access for the adult fish returning from the sea.

“This trial is a unique project which has been essential in helping us and SEPA to understand whether it could be possible to return this river to a more natural state.”

Border Telegraph: SEPA will now decided whether or not to remove the reservoir. Photo: Scottish WaterSEPA will now decided whether or not to remove the reservoir. Photo: Scottish Water

During the work, Scottish Water has monitored water quality in the river in addition to collecting feedback from the public to better understand how the reservoir is used.

The project will now combine its findings with community feedback to allow SEPA to make a decision on whether the reservoir should be removed or not.